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Good Customer Service

January 26, 2008 Sarah Coggins

There was a time when the motto “the customer is always right” ruled. I’m often doubtful these days that some have even heard the phrase. Every once in a while though, I’m reminded that not all is lost. Here are my recent 3 examples:

Coca-Cola – In mid-December, I purchased a 20oz Coke from a local convenience store. Halfway through drinking it, I realized that the bottle felt & looked different. The new bottles have a textured “grip” design below the label. I glanced at the date – Oct 27 07. It tasted fine and really, I don’t think a 2 month old Coke would harm me. I sent the company a comment via their website just noting the fact that the beverages weren’t being properly rotated. Well, I got a response that afternoon. After following up with additional information they requested, I found an apology letter and a coupon for a free 2-liter of Coke in my mailbox the next week.

Starbucks – Earlier this month I purchased a 12-pack of Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino from a club store. I took one to work with me the week before last. Popped the top, took a sip, and YYYUUUKKKKK! I’ve never ever had a bad tasting Frap before, but something was very, very wrong with this drink. Now I was worried that the entire 12-pack would be this way and that would be a big loss of money. So, like Coke, I went online to contact Starbucks. I was at work and didn’t have the time for the 1-800 #. By the week’s end, I did receive a response and was asked to call. I spoke to a very nice customer service rep in Seattle who heard out my complaint. [Note: I’ve checked the date codes on the remaining bottles in my 12-pack — none match this particular bad bottle and there are noticeable visual differences as well so I’m confident it’s the only bad bottle I bought.] Yesterday I opened my mailbox to find a letter from Starbucks with 2 coupons for free Frappuccino bottled drinks.

Finally, DirecTV – This one has not been quite as simple. We signed up with DirecTV about 3 years ago(?) and have a TiVo dvr receiver in our living room. Everything was wonderful until last summer. We’d be watching TV and suddenly, whatever the show was, it would be black & white. Didn’t matter if it was live or recorded. We figured out if we hit the replay button on the remote, that would correct the problem. But then the b&w happened more and more frequently. And occasionally, the box would just restart. That’s a bit frustrating when you’re in the middle of watching or recording something. Trent called and called. We were told to reset the box. Clear off recorded programs. Etc, etc. None of their suggestions worked. Most recently we were told we could get a new box, but it would COST us $99 plus shipping.

Now, I don’t get terribly angry often. I like the world has a half-full glass, but this fired me up. I’m paying for a service that I’m not getting and now being told I have to pay more?? For $99 I’ll switch to another provider. I asked Trent to try one more time (or I would but given my anger – it would have been ugly! LOL). On Monday he did. He called to cancel our service. Aha! The magic word – “cancel.” On Wednesday, our new DVR showed up via FedEx. We did pay shipping, but we did not pay for the box and we are getting a reduction in our bill for the next 12 months. 🙂 While it took some effort, I’m now pleased that we have a working receiver again. And Chester is happy with a box to rub against . . . at least until we put it in our recycling bin.

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  • Cheri January 26, 2008 at 4:10 pm
    Glad you've had some good experiences lately...customer service can be super frustrating. I'm with you, I would have been livid with the TV bit. We've had our own nightmare with satellite TV in the past, and it was never resolved. canceling didn't was them not recognizing that we HAD canceled that was the problem. They continued to bill our CC for over a year.
  • :: gingerkitty :: January 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm
    WOW you are Miss problem solutions expert! I know where to go if I need suggestions now.
  • toners January 26, 2008 at 8:23 pm
    I like reading stories like's amazing what an effect the word "cancel" can have, isn't it?
  • Ter January 26, 2008 at 8:37 pm
    Good for you!

    I'm very vocal about things that go wrong, and my husband is very much "leave it be" and that causes for some conflicts! Especially when we have to phone somewhere to complain and I can't hear very well on the phone! But thankfully, there's email now for the most part!

    But the next time I have a problem, I'll get you to call for me because I know you'll speak my mind for me! ;) hehe (kidding)
  • oceans5 January 27, 2008 at 1:10 am
    i love it when I have a good customer service experience. It makes me come back time and time again. One year we wanted to order pizza but when we called they said they were closed. So then about 5 minutes later we get a call back from the manager and he tells us that they turned the ovens back on JUST FOR US!! You can bet they got our business all the time right after that until they closed the restaurant.
  • jp January 27, 2008 at 3:05 am
    I hear you on the customer service issue. We really pay a lot of attention to that around here. Last winter I had to go head to head with Dish TV, who billed my parents for some channels they never ordered. It took weeks of arguing with them before I finally resorted to calling our state's attorney general. It took one call from that office and the entire matter was cleared up. That was the worst customer service I've ever experienced!
  • Ryzmomplus2 January 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm
    That's good to hear they all came through - even the "cable" - I usually try and resolve things diplomatically and if I can't I warn them that they don't want to talk to my husband! Most things are usually resolved
  • Kim January 27, 2008 at 4:27 pm
    Way to go for Coca Cola & Starbucks... makes me even more confident about being a "Coke gal" vs. Pepsi.

    DirecTV customer service has been less than stellar for us, too. Glad you got it resolved, though.
  • Aimeslee January 28, 2008 at 6:06 pm
    Sarah, ya did good. Hope you enjoy your coupons. Too sad but true, wometimes you have to say cancel and it doesn't always work, but I am happy for you it did this time.
  • Lorie January 30, 2008 at 4:11 pm
    LOL..Cancel is the magic word! I love how they change their tone when you want to cancel. They'll almost do anything to make you happy again.
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